Bright and early Saturday morning, Mike and Christy from Badger’s Millside Farm pulled down our lane and parked by the barn. While they hooked up to water and power, we said good-bye to our chickens and put them in crates.
Then, the whole process began. I thought it’d be too much gore for me to watch, but Mike and Christy kept the drama to a minimum and the work stations clean, so I didn’t have a problem hanging around, taking pictures and learning all about poultry processing.
Step 1: It is what you think it is. Off go the heads.
Step 2: The birds are rotated in this 147 degree bath until the feathers come off easily.
Step 3: The birds are jumbled around in this magic plucking machine and all of the feathers are removed in moments.
Step 4: Christy took it from there. She cut off the feet and removed all the innards, teaching the girls a fascinating anatomy lesson while she worked.
This is the beautiful gizzard… you can see the proof that our chickens were true nature birds, dining outside in the sunshine!
Step 5: A water bath. The girls were up close and personal all morning; they loved it and they learned so much. Christy is a natural teacher and she had us all trying new things by the time they wrapped things up for the afternoon. (Ryan eviscerated a bird, Viv pulled some guts out, and I learned how to cut up a bird into eighths.)
Step 6: We bagged the chickens, weighed them, and put them in the basement fridge until our customers showed up later in the afternoon!
Step 7: Finally, Ryan and I stayed up WAY too late cutting chickens and vacuum sealing them. (I must admit that I feel like Julia Child when I get that chicken down into 8 beautiful parts. Learn how to do it!) Even though it’s deliriously late, I think I’m in my right mind when I admit that I feel awesome about this adventure. Just look at all of that beautiful food for our family! I learned so much and couldn’t be happier about how we worked together as a family to achieve such a wholesome reward. It was worth every squawk.
(Have you missed the whole story? It all started the day the chicks arrived 8 weeks ago. Ryan made his own soy-free feed by ordering in bulk from places like Burkholder’s and The Centre Hall Farm Store. We had to say good-bye to a few along the way. We coaxed them out to the nice, fresh air.)
Enjoy your home,